Help Jam Jar Cinema Reach New Heights

by Daniel Ellis in Whitley Bay, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 17th July 2019 we successfully raised £15,485 with 370 supporters in 56 days

Please help us install a lift in our expanded Jam Jar Cinema and make it fully accessible to all!

by Daniel Ellis in Whitley Bay, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Lifts are expensive, but so too are projectors and seats. Our budget is tight and we can't do everything we want to. We will use any extra funds to purchase a headphone accessibility system so people who might have hearing difficulties or patrons requiring audio description can utilise the cinema to its fullest.


A trip to the cinema has long been a treat for townsfolk. It used to be part and parcel for everyone who lived in North Tyneside, with more than a dozen local cinemas to choose from, Whitley Bay at one point had 7! But time took its toll and eventually Whitley Bay was the largest town in the UK without a cinema. That all changed when a merry band of local people got together to open Jam Jar Cinema. The place has changed a lot over the years: we have come a long way from our first screenings in pubs, soft plays and churches in 2011, to taking our first lease and building in 2013. Thanks to an army of amazing volunteers we have gone from strength to strength. In 2015 we installed top of the range equipment making us a truly digital cinema - this development was a game-changer. Now we are technically good as the multiplex, but with more heart.  

In June 2017 we went full time and now open seven days a week. We have 15 passionate employees and are very proud to pay living wage, not minimum wage. The business has grown significantly over the last number of years, with annual visitors now peaking at 50,000. However, we've had our limitations. A major barrier to people coming to the venue is access. Our building was constructed in a time when little thought was given to ensuring all people could get in. We've done our best but there has been no ability to install a lift - until now. 

While the corporate giants concentrate on their screens, seats and sound, we take these high standards as a given. Instead we prefer to focus on our wonderful staff, maintaining excellent customer service and ensuring complete accessibility for the future.


We're taking the lease on the upstairs of the adjacent building. It is all of the space above the old Spar/Coop/McColls. It comes with a downstairs lobby and with a bit of structural wizardry we can punch through the concrete and install a lift. We've worked really hard as a team to reinvest and have the lions share of the money to convert the building. We will be able to install two new screens so we can take a wider selection of films, closer to release and at times to suit you. We have finance in place for the technical equipment and some of the seating. We know by becoming a cinema as it should be, for all we would raise our overall attendance to over 75,000. 

But we need your help, can you help us??

We are short on the money required to complete the project and we're hoping that the crowd funder community can pitch in to help us out.


We are Different - The experience we offer is a million miles away from the faceless corporate multiplex. We’re absolutely passionate about cinema, fiercely independent and yes, a little quirky. 

We are Local - We strive to be at the social heart of our community, providing opportunities to discuss and debate film and create connections between people who might otherwise be isolated. We support local causes and communities - giving back wherever we can. 

Affordable - We aim to keep our prices low, making sure our cinema is available everyone 

Inclusive - We provide a warm welcome and friendly atmosphere to everyone, with a relaxed and inviting lounge bar and a cosy yet state-of-the-art cinema in which every audience member can feel valued and at home.

Diverse -  We screen varied and adventurous programming that challenges perceptions and broaden horizons, providing our audience with access to world cinema, classics and the very best of new releases. As well as short films, documentaries, animations and live cultural events.  


A trip to the pictures expands minds, horizons and gives goosebumps. It provokes an array of emotions, starts debates and opens conversation. There is a joy of experiencing within a crowd and the camaraderie of an audience. You laugh together, hold your breath together, live together.  

There is nothing like that ‘ahhhh’ moment of sitting in a regular seat, with a favourite drink in hand and the feeling of calm beginning as the trailers start. People stop chattering and start to unwind, letting go of daily thoughts and beginning to get swept away in the magic of the movies. Sure, you could stay at home and watch a tiny screen - but why not become fully absorbed and totally transported in the cinema, with no dishes or laundry in the corner of your eye and no phones pinging - just pure uninterrupted, storytelling,

And when the credits start rolling, we start coming back to reality - realising it’s back to  normal life now….. The experience can often linger in our minds as we walk down the street, turning the key to our door and slowly come back to real life realisation. 

And all of this is available at the heart of Whitley Bay! The Jam Jar Cinema means no transport headaches, no tantrums about sugar that costs a house and a relaxed, cosy, inviting bar to unwind in. We offer a cosy hug rather than a corporate handshake. We have friendly faces to welcome you - not a soulless machine on the wall. Jam Jar Cinema staff are movie-fanatics - we eat, drink, think film. We can’t wait to see the latest flick and we love choosing the best of what’s to come for our community to enjoy.     


  • Make cinema as it should be and accessible for all 
  • Take audience development to the next level
  • Increase engagement 
  • Reach new sectors eg: teenage and young 16-30yrs
  • Reach new people in our community
  • Continue to contribute to the local economy and community
  • Correct our current inequality of access
  • Facilitate everyone to have the means to go to the cinema, make time for themselves and engage with others


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£25 or more

76 of 212 claimed

One Square Metre

Sponsor A SQUARE METRE of the new building. You'll also Receive 2 CINEMA TICKETS, YOUR NAME ON OUR STAIRWAY OF THANKS and a lucky dip to pick an original, used, 'Quad' CINEMA POSTER. We've got every thing from Star Wars to My Little Pony to give away, but you won't know what you're getting. All of the films have been screened at Jam Jar Cinema.

£1 or more

Anything You Can Afford

Please donate anything you can to help Jam Jar Cinema reach new heights.

£20 or more

62 of 300 claimed

Welcome To The Movies

You'll receive A VOUCHER FOR 2 CINEMA TICKETS and YOUR NAME ON OUR STAIRWAY OF THANKS. This reward is limited to individuals only (unfortunately no companies or organisations can be credited). Thank you for supporting Jam Jar Cinema.

£25 or more

Individual Friendship Of Jam Jar Cinema

If you're not already, then becoming a FRIEND is a great way to support the venue. Friendship last 1 year and you'll get 2 CINEMA TICKETS. - Discounted full price tickets for a year, only pay £5 to a full price screening (saving up to £2.50 full & £1.50 senior) - Concessionary rates on cinematic theatre events for a year. - only £10 per ticket (saving up to £5.00).

£35 or more

Couples Friendship

A COUPLES FRIENDSHIP is a great way to support the venue. Couples Friendship last 1 year and you'll get 2 CINEMA TICKETS. Both of you will get discounted full price tickets for a year, only pay £5 to a full price screening. Likewise you'll both get concessionary rates on cinematic theatre events for a year. - only £10 per ticket. Oh and it's not just for partners, we couples friends who are parents and children, friends, or just cinema buddies.

£50 or more

14 of 25 claimed

Proud As A Picture

We have our especially commissioned 'For The Love Of Film' A2 digital print, mounted and framed in a limited edition of just 25 pieces. Accompanying this reward is 4 CINEMA TICKETS so you can show your support on the wall at home or in the office but also by coming to the venue.

£120 or more

18 of 36 claimed

Take A Seat

Why not DEDICATE A SEAT in our existing screen. It makes an ideal gift and is the perfect way to commemorate a special occasion for someone you love. Or you could just use the opportunity to broadcast how much you love films and watching them here at Jam Jar Cinema. You'll also receive 8 CINEMA TICKETS so you can bring a friend or family member to show off your support. You personalised plaque includes a message of your choice.

£250 or more

3 of 30 claimed

A CinePhile Sunday Night

Treat yourself and up to 44 other guests to a private screening of your choice* on a Sunday Evening. Whether you're travelling to Casablanca, Singin' In The Rain or up for a bit of Dirty Dancing; do it in style at Jam Jar Cinema. Redeemable Sept 1st - Nov 30th 2019 & Jan 7th - April 30th 2020. You and your guests will receive a glass of bubbly & a popcorn when you take your seats. Dates are first come first served *some exclusions apply

£350 or more

0 of 10 claimed

It's A Wonderful Life

Treat yourself and up to 44 other guests to a private screening of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE this DECEMBER (1st - 18th). Journey to Bedford Falls on this heartwarming adventure. You'll have a private area to welcome your guests before the screening and everyone will receive a glass of the (nearly) WORLD FAMOUS 'Dan's Gran's Secret Recipe' MULLED WINE whilst a pianist plays your favourite Christmas Carols - Perfect to fill you with Christmas cheer.

£500 or more

3 of 20 claimed

Ther's No Business Like Show Business

If you're a local or regional business this reward is for you. You'll receive 20 CINEMA TICKETS to give out to your friends, family or to reward your staff. Your business will be ON OUR STAIRWAY OF THANKS and we'll be screening the logos of our business supporters ahead of each screening in all 3 screens for the year 2020.

£30 or more

50 of 50 claimed

Fizzing With Excitement

You'll receive A VOUCHER FOR 2 CINEMA TICKETS, with a bottle of PROSECCO to enjoy when you come and watch the film. You'll also get YOUR NAME ON OUR STAIRWAY OF THANKS. This reward is limited to individuals only (unfortunately no companies or organisations can be credited). Thank you for supporting Jam Jar Cinema.

£80 or more

12 of 12 claimed


Join us for GASTFILMERY! 2 TICKETS to the foodie filmy event of the year! Once upon a time, food at the cinema was more sophisticated than hotdogs and nachos, we will transport you and your taste buds. On Monday 12th Aug. 6.30pm a specially selected 3 course meal over at the amazing ROXBURGH followed by a screening here at Jam Jar Cinema. The film will be TRAINSPOTTING and the menu is inspired by Renton's shopping list! - A treat not to miss

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